Friday, January 13th, 2012
Hard-fought win for Indians
By Ryan Hines
Fort Recovery's Kelly Nietfeld, 40, reaches out to block the shot of Coldwater's. . .
FORT RECOVERY - Points were at a premium at Fort Site Fieldhouse on Thursday night as Coldwater and Fort Recovery faced off in a matchup between Midwest Athletic Conference girls' basketball unbeatens.
Fort Recovery rallied from a four-point deficit with 2:08 remaining in the game to maintain its share of the the MAC lead following a 45-41 victory over Coldwater. The Indians (9-1, 4-0 MAC) are tied with Marion Local for the top spot in the league standing while the Cavaliers (7-3, 3-1 MAC) fall a game back of the leaders.
"There is no such thing as an ugly win, but this one was close. With both teams being unbeaten in the league, this is a big win," admitted Fort Recovery's head coach Doug Bihn. "Like I told our girls, the big thing is that we still control our own destiny, but the race for the MAC title is far from over. Still a lot of games left to play."
Fort Recovery should feel fortunate to have defeated Coldwater after the Indians watched the Cavaliers rally from a 10-point halftime deficit.
After an atrocious first half of play, where the Cavaliers had more turnovers (17) than points (14), Coldwater started to rally in the third quarter. The Cavaliers, paced by five points each from Sarah Kanney and Janae Muhlenkamp, outscored the Indians 12-5 in the third quarter and trailed by just three points entering the final eight minutes of action.
Muhlenkamp completed the Coldwater comeback by drilling a three-pointer at the 5:27 mark in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 32-32.
After Chelsea Pottkotter hit a short jumper off the glass to give the Indians a two-point lead, Coldwater went on an 8-2 run over the next two minutes to go on top 40-36 with 2:08 remaining in the game. Kanney hit a rainbow three-pointer from NBA distance to cap the Cavaliers' run.
"She hit some big shots for us tonight to help us rally back," said Coldwater's head coach Nick Fisher.
Pottkotter hit another short jump for Fort Recovery before Kylie Kahlig canned a trifecta to give the Indians the lead for good at 41-40 with 1:28 left on the clock.
Following Coldwater's 26th turnover of the game, Fort Recovery's Ericka Lennartz hit two free throws with 55 seconds on the clock to put the Indians back up by three points.
Kanney missed a short runner on Coldwater's next possession and the Indians' Kelly Nietfeld missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the free-throw line to keep it a one-possession game.
The Cavaliers' Megan Muhlenkamp hit one-of one-of-two from the free-throw line to close the Cavs' deficit to two points with 27 seconds on the clock but Olivia Schwieterman calmly hit two free throws with 6.7 seconds left in the game to seal the win for the Indians.
"I missed one (free throw) earlier in the game and I wanted to make sure I hit both this time to help my team," said Schwieterman.
Coldwater's dismal first half cost the Cavs a chance at pulling out a win on the road. Coldwater shot just 5-of-27 from the field (18.5 percent) and turned the ball over 17 times in the opening two quarters.
"The first half was awful. We had a good week of practice but we laid an egg in the first half tonight and it cost us," said Fisher. "We weren't composed and we were backing away from their pressure defense."
Bihn felt that Coldwater's depth played a key role in the Cavaliers' comeback.
"I think that our lack of depth showed tonight, especially in the second half," said Bihn. "We haven't seen that type of pressure yet this year and I think that we were winded. It all starts and stops for us on the defensive end of the floor and I think that we got a few stops late that helped us tonight."
Kanney was the top scorer in the game with 18 points to lead the Cavs while the Indians' Kahlig scored 16 points.
Fort Recovery returns to action on Monday night with a makeup game at Fort Site Fieldhouse against Franklin-Monroe. Coldwater hosts Greenville on Saturday.